Rectal Prolapse: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A "prolapse" means that a body part has slipped forward or down from where it should be. The rectum is a tube at the end of the colon. At the end of the rectum is the anus, which is the opening where stool leaves the body.

A rectal prolapse happens when part or all of the wall of the rectum slides out of place, sticking out of the anus. It may be a partial prolapse, where only part of the lining of the rectum slips out of the anus. Or it may be a complete prolapse, where the entire wall of the rectum slips out.

Many things increase your chance of having a rectal prolapse. Risk factors include:

  • Straining during bowel movements.
  • Tissue damage from surgery or childbirth.
  • Weakness of pelvic floor muscles as people get older.

Your doctor may have found the problem after asking questions about your symptoms and doing a rectal examination. Home treatment often helps the problem. Some people may need surgery.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Avoid constipation. Drink plenty of water, and eat fruits, vegetables, and other foods that contain fibre. Changes in diet often are enough to improve or reverse a partial prolapse.
  • Do Kegel exercises to help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic area. You do Kegel exercises by tightening the muscles you use when you urinate.
  • Don't strain during a bowel movement. Use a stool softener if you need to.
  • If it happens again, and if your doctor says it's okay, you can push the prolapse back into place.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse pain.
  • You have new or worse bleeding from the rectum.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • The prolapse happens again.
  • You cannot pass stools or gas.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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